Themes in Tom Jones

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The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
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For other uses, see Tom Jones (disambiguation).
This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary and should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. Please edit the article to focus on discussing the work rather than merely reiterating the plot. (March 2011) Tom Jones

Title page from the 1749 edition
Author(s) Henry Fielding
Original title The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
Country Britain
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Andrew Millar
Publication date 28 February 1749
Preceded by The Female Husband, or the Surprising History of Mrs Mary alias Mr George Hamilton, who was convicted of having married a young woman of Wells and lived with her as her husband, taken from her own mouth since her confinement – fictionalized pamphlet (1746) Followed by A Journey from this World to the Next (1749)

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, often known simply as Tom Jones, is a comic novel by the English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding. The novel is both a Bildungsroman and Picaresque novel. First published on 28 February 1749, Tom Jones is among the earliest English prose works describable as a novel.[1] The novel, totaling 346,747 words, is divided into 18 smaller books, each preceded by a discursive chapter, often on topics totally unrelated to the book itself. It is dedicated to George Lyttleton. Contents

1 Plot introduction
2 Themes
3 List of Characters
4 Plot summary
4.1 Book I
4.2 Book II
4.3 Book III
4.4 Book IV
4.5 Book V
4.6 Book VI
4.7 Book VII
4.8 Book VIII
4.9 Book IX
4.10 Book X
4.11 Book XI
4.12 Book XII
4.13 Book XIII
4.14 Book XIV
4.15 Book XV
4.16 Book XVI
4.17 Book XVII
4.18 Book XVIII
5 Film, TV, operas, and theatrical adaptations
6 Release details
7 See also
8 Notes
9 References
10 External links

Plot introduction

Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy, in Somerset in England's West Country. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbour's daughter, Sophia Western. On one hand, their love reflects the romantic comedy genre that was popular in 18th-century Britain. However, Tom's status as a bastard causes Sophia's father and Allworthy to oppose their love; this criticism of class friction in society acted as a biting social commentary. The inclusion of prostitution and sexual promiscuity in the plot was also original for its time, and the foundation for criticism of the book's "lowness."[2] Themes

The main theme of the novel is the contrast between Tom Jones’ good nature, flawed but eventually corrected by his love for virtuous Sophia Western, and his half-brother Blifil’s hypocrisy. Secondary themes include several other examples of virtue (especially that of Squire Allworthy), hypocrisy (especially that of Thwackum) and just villainy (for example Mrs. Western, ensign Northerton), sometimes tempered by repentance (for instance Square, Mrs. Waters née Jones).

Both introductory chapters to each book and interspersed commentary introduce further themes. For instance, introductory chapters dwell extensively on bad writers and critics, quite unrelated to the plot but apologetic to the author and the novel itself; and authorial commentary on several characters show strong opposition to Methodism, calling it fanatical, heretical, and implying association of hypocrites, such as the younger Blifil, with it.

As a background, the author interweaves the Forty-Five, and characters...
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